HCL-SRFI tour: Stage for young Indians to make a mark

Mahesh Mangaonkar, seeded second, is the highest ranked Indian in the second leg of the HCL-SRFI India tour, a PSA challenger tour.

SRFI secretary general Cyrus Poncha reckons Mahesh Mangaonkar has a good chance in the Chennai leg.   -  V. Ganesan

The second leg of the HCL-SRFI India tour, a PSA challenger tour, will commence at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) here on Sunday. The tournament will end on October 17.

The tour is scheduled to have four tournaments in four different cities. The first leg was held in Greater Noida and Indian Vikram Malhotra won it.

Referring to it, Cyrus Poncha, secretary-general, Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), said, "So, this time Mahesh (Mangaonkar), seeded second, has a great opportunity as well."

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Poncha reckoned there will be tougher competition this time, as the men's and women's draws have some higher-ranked players than last time.

Besides Mahesh, the other Indians in the men's draw are Aditya Jagtap, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Abhay Singh, Aadit Zaveri, Velavan Senthilkumar and Yash Fadte.

Sunayna Kuruvilla is the top Indian seed (four) in the women's draw. The other Indians are Tanvi Khanna, Sachika Balvani, Urwashi Joshi, Aparajitha Balamurukan, Rathika Suthanthira Seelan, Ananya Dabke and Abhisheka Shannon.

"The thing about this tour is that many young Indians get a chance to play in international grade tournaments at home. Otherwise, only two-three players go abroad and then travel to play in such tournaments. Here, at least seven-eight boys/girls get the chance to participate.

"For instance, for players like Abhay and Yash who will play here (Chennai), it is a big opportunity. Velavan is coming down from the US," said Poncha.

He added: "The primary overall aim of the tour is to help the Indian players improve their base, and, of course, their PSA ranking." Foreign players from across 14 countries will play the tournament.  

Malaysian players Ivan Yuen and Rachel Arnold are the men's and women's top seeds.

Poncha said the third leg has been planned to be held in Mumbai in December, and that the venue and dates for the fourth is yet to be finalised. He added that there's a tentative plan to conduct four or five more such tournaments before next August.